FanFic - Max/Liz
"Exhaustion"
Part 11
by Watcher_Tara
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in anyway with Roswell. (Roswell Quotes is all mine, however. Come visit me at www.roswellquotes.com.) Shameless, I know but had to do it. :-)
Summary: Post JTNY. Liz is getting sick, and her friendships are tested as the gang struggles to help her. No one is getting any sleep as Michael and Isabel start having strange dreams.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: This was written before ARC, based on what Max said about not being able to just heal people in LN. As always, your feedback is much appreciated.
"MAX?" Sheriff Valenti's voice rang out through the empty center. At the foot of the stairs, the soda machine clanked noisily as it dropped down the coke Max was getting for Liz, and drew the sheriff's attention. "Max, can I talk with you?" the older man asked as he walked down the stairs.

"Sure," Max said, trying to hide the nervousness he was feeling. All the years he'd spent hiding from Valenti was coming to his aide. He met Jim at the bottom of the stairs. "What's up?"

"Have you seen Liz at all today?"

"No, Sheriff. She wasn't in school today. I was going to go over to see her when I get off here in two more hours. Why? What's up?"

The sheriff looked like he was debating how much to tell him before he slowly replied, "Well, it seems that she disappeared earlier from Roswell Memorial."

"The hospital? Disappeared? Sheriff, what are you talking about?" Max was trying to look stunned.

Jim's eyes were carefully weighing Max's reactions, almost positive that Liz would have gone to him with her problem. "You're certain you haven't seen her? She hasn't tried to contact you at all?"

"Of course I'm certain. Why was Liz in the hospital?"

"Stitches. She fell this morning, apparently, and had to get a couple of stitches. Nothing major."

"And now she's missing?"

"Apparently." Jim was more sure now than ever that Max knew more than he was telling. The boy was being way too calm over this. "I called your house, and Isabel said that she hasn't tried to contact you at all."

"She hasn't called here, Sheriff."

"Do you mind if I have a look around?"

"Of course not." Max said, positive that Liz would had heard Valenti's voice by now. There was a perfect place to hide near where she was sitting. "I'll come with you if you want. I was just going on break to eat my dinner when you came in."

"Sure, that'd be great," the sheriff said big a big fake smile stretching across his face.

As they walked through the center, Jim told him how upset the Parkers were and how the hospital was all in an uproar. It seems that somehow she'd been allowed to check out and her charts and x-rays were missing. Through it all, Max tried to look concerned, but not panicked, and he thought he was being pretty successful. Jim was suspicious at his lukewarm reaction, but didn't say anything.

As they were entering the unfinished section of the center, Max asked, "Have you called Kyle yet?"

"Kyle?"

"Yeah. If Liz was upset over something, she probably went to him. You know, for comfort. They've gotten really... close... again, you know."

"Close? How close?" the sheriff wanted to know.

Max just shrugged. His intention was to throw the sheriff off the scent for a while, not open that particular can of worms. Besides, he couldn't bring himself to talk about Liz like that. They continued walking through the center.

In no time, they rounded the corner of the "Typical American Town" section, and Max stopped dead in his tracks. Liz was still out in plain sight.

'What the... Liz!' Max thought. Hadn't she heard them coming?

Liz was still laying on the lounge chair, right in the middle of the display, the uneaten half of her sandwich laying in its wrapper on the green floor beside her. Why hadn't she hidden herself? She must have fallen asleep right after he'd left her. The relaxed body and closed eyes attested to it.

The sheriff stepped up behind him and put his hand on his shoulder. "Max..." Well, that was it. Max turned around to face whatever lecture Valenti chose to give him for lying to him and scaring the Parker's half to death by abducting their daughter from the hospital. "I'm sure you can appreciate how upset Liz's parent's are."

"Yes, sir." He was studying the toes of his sneakers as he spoke.

"Good. So if she calls or contacts you in anyway tonight, I want you to have her call them right away, ok?"

Max's eyes flew to Jim's. "Sheriff?"

Sheriff Valenti scanned the area one last time. There had been no sign of Liz Parker anywhere. Well, it had been worth a shot, he decided. Considering what she'd been told earlier, Max Evans was the most logical choice of who she'd run to, but he must have been mistaken. "Well, I guess we found your dinner. Thanks for the tour. I hope you don't mind. Just doing my job you know." Valenti squeezed Max's shoulder then turned to go.

"No problem sheriff. Let me know if I can do anything to help," Max offered, still a little unsure why Jim hadn't said anything; why he was just leaving. It was like he hadn't even seen her.

Max's eyes widened as realization hit. He took a step toward Liz and looked more closely at her. A slight frown puckered her forehead. She wasn't asleep, she was concentrating very hard on something. And Max had a good idea what that something was. "Liz..." It was a reverent whisper like someone might use while standing in the presence of something holy. Liz was somehow using her brand new powers to block her presence from Sheriff Valenti's watchful eye.

She slowly lifted one arm and held a finger to her lips, indicating that Valenti was still nearby. She scooted her legs over slightly and patted the chair. Opening her soda for her, he sat down. His arm brushed against hers as he set it near the sandwich on the ground. They both felt the contact all the way to their toes, and Liz had to concentrate even harder on the task at hand. It wasn't until they both heard him walking away that they relaxed.

Liz opened her beautiful brown eyes and looked up at Max. Then she smiled.

Time stood still for Max as he looked down into her innocent face. He wished things were different. He wished that he could claim Liz as his own. He would love nothing more than to carry her off to his cave for the rest of their lives. (Unlike most people who wished the same thing, Max actually had a cave to carry her off to. Thus the temptation was twice as great.)

He wanted to bind her to him in such a way that they would both know that she belonged only to him, and he to her. He still felt in his heart, in the very core of his being that she was his soulmate, his heartmate, she was his in ways that couldn't be expressed or defined. If only he could find a way to convince her of that.

Some of what he was thinking must have shown on his face for she suddenly looked away. A blush slowly made its way up her cheeks. "Umm... I'm been practicing a little since... you know, New York. I um, like to use that one to hide from my parents when I don't want to be found."

"How did you...?"

"It's just like what I did to you in New York, only that time Isabel had to help me connect with you. You were so far away, and I didn't have any idea what I was doing. But ever since then, I've been working on it on my own, 'cause, you know, you said that Nicholas was back and I thought there might come a time when I might be needed to hide Maria, Alex or myself from him. It seemed like a good idea to be ready."

Unable to resist, Max reached out and ran his fingers across the smooth skin of her cheek. "Liz, you know I won't ever let anything happen to you or the others."

She smiled sadly at him. "Max, you may not be able to stop it. You have enough other people to worry about with Isabel and Michael and Tess. We don't want to get in your way, and we don't want you putting yourself and the others at risk for us if you don't have to. The four of you are too important."

"But it's ok for you to put yourself at risk for us?" She wouldn't answer.

Max looked hard at her face, trying to see past the fašade she was presenting to him. Granted, Liz wasn't Maria. She didn't panic at the drop of a hat, but this... this calm acceptance was surreal. Unnatural. She had showed more emotion when the Skins had made the whole town of Roswell disappear. Why wasn't she even a little bit scared? And above all, why did she have so much trust in him? Trust he didn't feel like he deserved.

Trying to put her actions in perspective, he argued, "If you weren't afraid that this tumor inside of you was going to endanger us, you would be at the hospital discussing treatments with them and working on getting well right now. Not hiding out here... possibly getting worse from what I tried to do. Tell me how that's ok."

"We cannot control what's going on around us, as much as we'd like to. It's like I already told you, Max. You can't stop what's happening to you. Well, I can't stop what's happening to me, either. The best thing we can do is take each crisis as it comes and do everything we can to get past it, and in the process, we're shaping our future. Our destinies.

"I don't believe that it's my destiny to die from this, and I'm going to do everything I can to prevent that from happening. But, if I'm wrong, if my future is to be cut short because of something that happened in the past, then I swear to you I will not allow the four of you pay for it by putting all of you in danger again. You know, we are finally clear of government suspicion and I'm not going to be the one that stirs that all up again. Until we know the truth, until we know the risk, this is the path I have chosen." She reached forward and placed her hand against his cheek and asked softly. "Will you help me do this? Please? I need you to help me. Be with me. Believe in me. I swear to you that I'm doing the right thing here. I know some part of you must see it."

Against the emotional part of his mind, which was shouting at him to return her to her doctor's care so she can be treated, despite the risks, Max nodded. Liz smiled sadly at his reluctant agreement. "If the tests come back normal, if there's no sign of Cadmium-X, I'll go back to the hospital as soon as the handprint fades, I promise."

"And if they don't?"

"Then we'll come up with a different plan. But let's not worry about that until we get there."

Max hated to admit it, but she was right. Until they knew for sure, there was nothing they could do. Seeing the agreement in his eyes, she sat back tiredly. She felt like she'd just won a major battle, but she knew the worst was yet to come. Changing the subject slightly, she asked, "What time is it?"

He looked at his wristwatch. "Just past seven. We'll wait until ten before going over to the school." Max stood up. "I guess I should get back to work before Brody comes looking for me. You should eat the rest of your dinner."

"I will."

"'K." He stayed there looking down at her for a long moment. Finally, he pulled his gaze away from hers. "'K." He repeated.

"Max, I'll be fine. Don't worry about me."

Nodding, he walked back in the direction of the office. Perhaps talking to Brody would take his mind off his Liz problems. He still had the impending arrival of the other aliens to deal with. Why did these things always seem to happen in twos?

He thought about what Liz said, and the impending arrival of Nicholas. She was right. Liz, Maria and Alex would be fair game to Nicholas and his followers. He just wished he understood how the guy could still be alive after Tess had disintegrated him along with the rest of the population of Copper Summit at the high school. Did that mean that Greer and Ida were just around the corner waiting to spring themselves on them, too?

Max wished he had more answers. Right now, he was going on several assumptions: Nasedo hadn't been a Skin. He could shape-shift into any form. Nicholas and the others were Skins. It was unlikely that the husks could shape-shift, so as long as they were in the husks, they were unable to shape-shift. Nicholas had all the same powers that he did and, according to Courtney, the alien was a thousand times more powerful. But he was alone and Max had the others with him. And Liz, too, if it came to that.

Together, hopefully the five of them were strong enough to defeat Nicholas once and for all. Liz could be their wildcard. Once she was stronger and knew what she was capable of, of course. Their enemies would be expecting the royal four, not the royal five. It would give them a tactical advantage...

He nearly tripped over his own feet when he realized what he was thinking. How could he possibly be planning to use Liz in their future battles with Nicholas that the other Skins? How could he have possibly been thinking of putting her into danger like that? Where was his brain? He was assuming that she'd even be around for future battles. Her current illness aside, there was nothing to keep Liz in Roswell after graduation.

Hell, she, Alex and Maria were probably planning on being on the first plane out of here as soon as the diplomas were given out. Probably to Australia, which is as far away from Roswell as they can get before they start coming back again. "I may love you, but I don't want to die for you." Liz's voice suddenly spoke up in his mind, reminding him of that horrible speech she'd made him listen to. The one in which she'd told him that she wanted to be in love with normal boys and have a normal life. And children. He didn't even know if he could give her children. Hell, they still didn't even know if it was safe for them to have sex together. Liz was right. He must have been insane to think that they could have any kind of a future.

On the other hand, why was he always completely swept up in his feelings for her when she was near? And she for him? It had to be more than a cosmic coincidence. They just needed to find their path. To create the destiny they both so much wanted to achieve. All he needed was time...

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